I see them everywhere this time of year – gingerbread houses. And although I once dreamed of entering a fancy gingerbread competition (maybe Little Bug and I will work on it when she’s older), for right now the simpler the gingerbread house the better.
Little Bug loves decorating. And, no, it’s not what you think… she barely eats any of the decorations as she works. Instead, she’s been blessed by my designer genes and could sit there for what seems like forever adding every last detail. She likes to figure out where the doors and windows go, how to build them and where to place a snowman. It’s really amazing her attention to detail.
So pulling on a project that I used to make with my third graders, I adapted it to create an easy no-bake gingerbread house to make with your toddler. The kind with store bought icing, straight from the box graham crackers and lots of colorful candy decorations. It’s so simple, you won’t even believe it. And the perfect activity while one’s little brother takes his afternoon nap.
You Will Need:
White Icing (store bought works great)
An assortment of candies, sprinkles and decorations
A rinsed and cleaned cardboard container (some ideas include orange juice, milk or half and half)
A piece of cardboard
1. Cover the cardboard piece with white frosting. Place the cardboard container on top. Let dry for about five minutes.
2. Cover the outside of the cardboard container with graham cracker squares. This will create a nice façade to attach candy to. Add lots of icing to the back of each square and carefully press onto the sides.
For narrow gaps, break the graham cracker square in half and use a small rectangle.
3. Decorate the gingerbread house with a variety of candies. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Oreo cookies make wonderful Christmas wreaths.
Use colorful M&Ms for light strands and garlands. Especially helpful for decorating windows.
Mini candy canes make sweet lamp posts, mail boxes or North Poles.
Pretzel sticks create great door outlines.
Peeps holiday marshmallows come in trees and snowmen. Perfect additions to the front yard.
Mini marshmallows are cute snowballs. Large marshmallows can also be used for snowmen.
In our gingerbread house, little gummi bears lived there. We had them all around the yard and coming out of the windows. We decided it was a bear Christmas party.
Mini meringues (provided by my mom) were great for pockets of snow on the roof.
The best part about decorating gingerbread houses is that the artistic creativity is endless. I loved making this house with Little Bug because the prep was minimal and most of our focus was on giving the house character through the decorations. It’s the perfect way to spend a snowy holiday afternoon in the studio.